Has the WIDE training been reviewed by people within the sports zone to ensure the accuracy of advice?

Anonymous submitted on

Monday 13th January 2020


While undertaking the WIDE training I have noticed several instances where the advice given, while done with good intentions, is inappropriate to sports clubs and has the potential to place committee members and participants at risk. For example:

1) Saying that clubs should not ask people for diagnoses of medical conditions, and instead annonymously collect a list of adjustments required. While this may be a good way to make some non-sport societies more inclusive, if I were to follow this advice as the president of a sports club and we had a medical incident which was exacerbated by a lack of knowledge of an individual's medical conditions, I would be grossly negligent. Medical forms are a generally accepted way of fullfilling your duty of care across the sports industry (including by the Uni!) so I cannot believe that SUSU is really suggesting that doing these is causing discrimination like the video in the training suggests.

2) Failing to mention that in some circumstances adjustments to include someone with a protected characteristic can be unreasonable to implement, for example if it poses an unacceptable risk to safety due to the nature of an individual's requirement and the sport. Again this is putting them at risk of being negligent as they feel under pressure from SUSU to accept this higher level of risk, rather than being supported to make sensible risk assessments based on their expertise of their sport. Clubs should be doing everything they reasonably can to include people, but it should be emphasised that this may need to be constrained by what is safe and practical for that individual sport and reassure people that SUSU will not criticise clubs who are making these difficult decisions in good faith, bearing in mind that safety always has to be the primary consideration.

Has anyone involved in running sports clubs had any input into this training? If not, why not and can the AU have some input to ensure the advice given is suitable and safe?


Let's keep this space positive and respectful! Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions, but please remember to keep the conversation friendly and avoid any offensive comments.

Laura Barr submitted on

Monday 20th January 2020


Hi there!

Thank you so much for your question and feedback on this. Its really appreciated as it is the first time we have done something like this! 

To answer is short- yes. It was monitored and reviewed by our Director of Activities while it was being written so there is nothing in there that is factually 'wrong' or unsafe. However, I totally agree with you that it does lean more towards the societies side than it does sports. This is something we have taken on board from the feedback and we will be looking closely during the review of the content to ensure that there is more sports specific advice and guidance. This will be done with S&W. 

I understand your first point- there are some circumstances where for health and safety reasons, people won't be able to safely or appropriately engage in certain activities. The message of the training was to emphasize that people should not dismiss or brush offt the opportunity, but explore first how it can be made safe and accessible. Discrimination would only occur when there is an outright rejection of people with disabilities based on ignorance without any thought into how it can be facilitated. This is not the same as above, or the same as your second point. We are not encouraging to accept higher levels of risk, but encouraging clubs to think harder about how they can manage that risk so that people with disabilities can join in safely. In many cases, the latter will apply with some proactiveness and thoughtfulness. In some cases, there will be barriers, and this is something we accept. 

SUSU and Sport and Wellbeing would always be around to faciliate how this can be achieved, and there wouldn't be any criticism or punishment if that club has sought out how to do this, and made sure that people with disabilities can still be involved. The criticism would come from any incident or case where disabled people are outright not allowed to engage in any capacity. For example, a disabled person doesn't always need to be able to join in the sport, to be able to be a part of the social side, for example. This opportunity should be open to people.  

So, yes, people have been involved in the sports side of the training but I fully accept there needs to be more emphasis and nuance in that. We are reviewing the training ready for the next intake and we very much value your feedback with this! 

Feel free to email me on welfare@soton.ac.uk or come in to speak if you have further questions/concerns. 


Laura Barr 

VP Welfare & Communities 19/20